Continuing her policy of turning a blind eye to the predatory behavior of private colleges at the expense of defrauded students, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has reportedly derailed a special investigative unit within her department that was tasked with probing abuses by for-profit schools.
According to the New York Times, which first reported on DeVos's efforts Sunday, members of the team—established at the tail-end of the Obama administration—"have been marginalized, reassigned, or instructed to focus on other matters, according to current and former employees."
"The unwinding of the team has effectively killed investigations into possibly fraudulent activities at several large for-profit colleges where top hires of Betsy DeVos, the education secretary, had previously worked," including DeVry Education Group, the Times reports.
The U.S. Department of Education sells out to the for-profit college industry https://t.co/VXISBClGkM
— Brent Staples (@BrentNYT) May 13, 2018
As it currently stands, the investigative team only consists of three employees—it previously had around a dozen—and is supervised by Julian Schmoke, a former dean at DeVry.
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Responding to the Times report on Sunday, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) denounced DeVos—a multi-billionaire—for running a "corruption racket."
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) summarized DeVos' actions in a simple three-point list:
1.The Education Department investigates abuses by for-profit colleges
2.Betsy DeVos takes over and hires executives from for-profit colleges
3.Investigations into for-profit colleges get shut down https://t.co/zC8fACAgUI
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) May 13, 2018
The new details on the Education Department's turn toward assisting for-profit universities rather than student victims of these institutions fit within the Trump administration's broad "war on students," which escalated last week when acting CFPB director Mick Mulvaney moved to shut down what Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) described as "the only federal office fully focused on protecting student borrowers from predatory companies."